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Manson: The Lost Tapes

  • Episode: 

    2 of 2

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Thu 04 Oct 2018
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 40 2018 : Sat 29 Sep - Fri 05 Oct
  • Channel: 

Manson: The Lost Tapes
Episode 2

ITV’s Crime & Punishment season continues with this two-part series made with exclusive access to 100 hours of original footage, to include unseen and rarely-viewed interviews, revealing the terrifying truth of life inside the Manson family.


This series brings to life Charles Manson's world and how he assembled a group of young followers in a commune, four of whom would go on to commit the most infamous series of murders in US history, which came to be seen across the world as the dark side to the hippy movement.


The footage was discovered after British producer Simon Andreae traced the whereabouts of filmmaker Robert Hendrickson, who had been given exclusive access to the Manson cult 50 years ago. His own documentary, Manson, was released in 1973 but banned by a judge shortly afterwards.


A private investigator was hired, who discovered Hendrickson had died a few weeks earlier leaving a vast collection of footage, interviews and photos.


Manson: The Lost Tapes draws on digitally restored and remastered versions of that material along with new interviews with Manson cult members and experts to present the inside story of how members of an apparently peace-loving commune were turned into America’s most horrifying group of cold-blooded killers.


Tonight’s second episode looks at why Manson made his peaceful 'hippy' followers embark on one of the most brutal and seemingly senseless killing sprees in US history, exploring whether he was a white supremacist - or simply a psychopath.


Among those featured in Hendrickson’s footage is Ronnie Howard - a cellmate of cult member Susan Atkins who witnessed her confession to the murders.


Also included among the pieces of footage unearthed for this programme are scenes of Manson’s followers visiting the courthouse where he was on trial, shaving their heads and making a jacket out of their hair for him.


Amid the febrile atmosphere of US race riots in the late 1960s, the programme features key players explaining how Manson hatched his plan to incriminate young black men as the perpetrators of a series of horrific murders - codenamed 'Helter Skelter'.


The programme describes how his followers, drawn in by free love and mind-bending drugs, embarked on a killing spree in Los Angeles, after first murdering family associate Gary Hinman in July 1969. Paul Watkins, in original footage, says: “His masterplan was to start a revolution, which the blacks would fight against the whites and everybody would fight against everybody else… And that everyone would get killed except for Charlie and a few blacks would be left to be their servants."


Bobby Beausoleil, who is still serving a prison sentence for killing Gary Hinman, gives a new interview in which he expresses remorse for the murder. He says: "Fear changes people. Fear, it's not a rational emotion and when it sets in, things get out of control as they certainly did with Charlie and me.


"What I wished a thousand thousand times is that I had taken Gary to the emergency room. Instead I stabbed Gary twice in the chest… I shattered my own soul."


Manson’s followers then committed the most notorious of their crimes after being directed to 10050 Cielo Drive a couple of weeks later - the murder of celebrity Sharon Tate, who was the wife of Roman Polanski, along with her unborn baby, and four other visitors to the property.


The next night, cult members carried out the murders of another couple at their property in LA. In a new interview, Manson Family associate Aesop Aquarian talks about how his followers attempted to disrupt the judicial process once trials started in June 1970.


He says: "One of the girls came up to me and said, ‘We've got to get Charlie out. Whatever it takes to get him out. We want you to kill the judge. That will show them that we're serious and that'll get Charlie out.’ When she said that I felt my jaw drop to the ground and bounce."


Former member Catherine ‘Gypsy’ Share says they believed Manson was sending them messages to try to get him out of prison. She says: “He's telling us to break him out of jail. Find a way of sneaking in and breaking him out of jail."